WO1999035343A1 - Stabilizing elements for mechanically stabilized earthen structure and mechanically stabilized earthen structure - Google Patents

Stabilizing elements for mechanically stabilized earthen structure and mechanically stabilized earthen structure Download PDF

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Publication number
WO1999035343A1
WO1999035343A1 PCT/IB1999/000066 IB9900066W WO9935343A1 WO 1999035343 A1 WO1999035343 A1 WO 1999035343A1 IB 9900066 W IB9900066 W IB 9900066W WO 9935343 A1 WO9935343 A1 WO 9935343A1
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WO
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Patent type
Prior art keywords
blocks
block
tensile
slots
stmcture
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/IB1999/000066
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Peter L. Anderson
Original Assignee
Societe Civile Des Brevets Henri Vidal
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Filing date
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Classifications

    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E02HYDRAULIC ENGINEERING; FOUNDATIONS; SOIL SHIFTING
    • E02DFOUNDATIONS; EXCAVATIONS; EMBANKMENTS; UNDERGROUND OR UNDERWATER STRUCTURES
    • E02D29/00Independent underground or underwater structures; Retaining walls
    • E02D29/02Retaining or protecting walls
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E02HYDRAULIC ENGINEERING; FOUNDATIONS; SOIL SHIFTING
    • E02DFOUNDATIONS; EXCAVATIONS; EMBANKMENTS; UNDERGROUND OR UNDERWATER STRUCTURES
    • E02D29/00Independent underground or underwater structures; Retaining walls
    • E02D29/02Retaining or protecting walls
    • E02D29/0225Retaining or protecting walls comprising retention means in the backfill
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E02HYDRAULIC ENGINEERING; FOUNDATIONS; SOIL SHIFTING
    • E02DFOUNDATIONS; EXCAVATIONS; EMBANKMENTS; UNDERGROUND OR UNDERWATER STRUCTURES
    • E02D29/00Independent underground or underwater structures; Retaining walls
    • E02D29/02Retaining or protecting walls
    • E02D29/0225Retaining or protecting walls comprising retention means in the backfill
    • E02D29/0241Retaining or protecting walls comprising retention means in the backfill the retention means being reinforced earth elements
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E02HYDRAULIC ENGINEERING; FOUNDATIONS; SOIL SHIFTING
    • E02DFOUNDATIONS; EXCAVATIONS; EMBANKMENTS; UNDERGROUND OR UNDERWATER STRUCTURES
    • E02D29/00Independent underground or underwater structures; Retaining walls
    • E02D29/02Retaining or protecting walls
    • E02D29/025Retaining or protecting walls made up of similar modular elements stacked without mortar
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E02HYDRAULIC ENGINEERING; FOUNDATIONS; SOIL SHIFTING
    • E02DFOUNDATIONS; EXCAVATIONS; EMBANKMENTS; UNDERGROUND OR UNDERWATER STRUCTURES
    • E02D29/00Independent underground or underwater structures; Retaining walls
    • E02D29/02Retaining or protecting walls
    • E02D29/0258Retaining or protecting walls not used, see subgroups
    • E02D29/0283Retaining or protecting walls not used, see subgroups of mixed type
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04BGENERAL BUILDING CONSTRUCTIONS; WALLS, e.g. PARTITIONS; ROOFS; FLOORS; CEILINGS; INSULATION OR OTHER PROTECTION OF BUILDINGS
    • E04B2/00Walls, e.g. partitions, for buildings; Wall construction with regard to insulation; Connections specially adapted to walls
    • E04B2/02Walls, e.g. partitions, for buildings; Wall construction with regard to insulation; Connections specially adapted to walls built-up from layers of building elements
    • E04B2/14Walls having cavities in, but not between, the elements, i.e. each cavity being enclosed by at least four sides forming part of one single element
    • E04B2/22Walls having cavities in, but not between, the elements, i.e. each cavity being enclosed by at least four sides forming part of one single element using elements having a general shape differing from that of a parallelepiped
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04CSTRUCTURAL ELEMENTS; BUILDING MATERIALS
    • E04C1/00Building elements of block or other shape for the construction of parts of buildings
    • E04C1/39Building elements of block or other shape for the construction of parts of buildings characterised by special adaptations, e.g. serving for locating conduits, for forming soffits, cornices, or shelves, for fixing wall-plates or door-frames, for claustra
    • E04C1/395Building elements of block or other shape for the construction of parts of buildings characterised by special adaptations, e.g. serving for locating conduits, for forming soffits, cornices, or shelves, for fixing wall-plates or door-frames, for claustra for claustra, fences, planting walls, e.g. sound-absorbing
    • EFIXED CONSTRUCTIONS
    • E04BUILDING
    • E04BGENERAL BUILDING CONSTRUCTIONS; WALLS, e.g. PARTITIONS; ROOFS; FLOORS; CEILINGS; INSULATION OR OTHER PROTECTION OF BUILDINGS
    • E04B2/00Walls, e.g. partitions, for buildings; Wall construction with regard to insulation; Connections specially adapted to walls
    • E04B2/02Walls, e.g. partitions, for buildings; Wall construction with regard to insulation; Connections specially adapted to walls built-up from layers of building elements
    • E04B2002/0256Special features of building elements
    • E04B2002/026Splittable building elements

Abstract

A modular block wall includes dry cast, unreinforced modular wall blocks (40) with anchor type, or frictional type or composite type soil stabilizing elements (42) recessed therein and attached thereto by vertical rods (46) which also connect the blocks (40) together. The soil stabilizing elements (42) are positioned in counterbores or slots in the blocks (40) and project into the compacted soil (48) behind the courses of modular wall blocks (40). Alternative stabilizing element designs may be used with the modular wall blocks (40) and other types of facing elements in a mechanically stabilized earth structure.

Description

STABILIZING ELEMENTS FORMECHANICALLY

STABILIZED EARTHEN STRUCTURE AND MECHANICALLY

STABILIZED EARTHEN STRUCTURE

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This is a continuation-in-part application to the following co-pending U.S. Patent Applications and Patents which are incorporated herewith by reference:

Patent or Issue or Serial No. Filing Date Title

5,507,599 April 16, 1996 Modular Block Retaining Wall Construction and Components

5,487,623 January 30, 1996 Modular Block Retaining Wall Construction and Components

5,577,866 November 26, 1996 Earthen Work With Wire Mesh Facing, which is a continuation of Serial No. 08/114,098, filed August 30, 1993

5,474,405 December 12, 1995 Low Elevation Wall Construction

5,622,455 April 22, 1997 Earthen Work With Wire Mesh Facing, which is a continuation-in-part of attorney docket no. 93,832-G, filed June 6, 1995, which is a continuation of Serial No. 08/156,053, filed November 22, 1993

08/192,801 February 14, 1994 Modular Block Retaining Wall Construction and Components

5,586,841 December 24, 1996 Dual Purpose Modular Block For Construction of Retaining Walls

08/472,885 June 7, 1995 Stabilizing Elements for Mechanically Stabilized Earthen Structure all for which priority is claimed. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates to an improved retaining wall construction and, more particularly, to a retaining wall construction comprised of modular blocks, in combination with tie-back and/or mechanically stabilized earth elements and compacted particulate or soil. This invention further relates to the stabilizing elements for mechanically stabilized earthen structures and the combination thereof with various facing elements.

In U.S. Patent No. 3,686,873 and No. 3,421,326, Henri Vidal discloses a constructional work now often referred to as a mechanically stabilized earth or earthen structure. The referenced patents also disclose methods for construction of mechanically stabilized earth structures such as retaining walls, embankment walls, platforms, foundations, etc. In a typical mechanically stabilized earth construction, particulate earthen material interacts with longitudinal elements such as elongated steel strips positioned at appropriately spaced intervals in the earthen material. The elongate elements are generally arrayed for attachment to reinforced precast concrete wall panels and, the combination forms a cohesive embankment and wall construction. The longitudinal or elongate elements, which extend into the earthen work, interact with compacted soil particles principally by frictional interaction and thus mechanically stabilize the earthen work. They are often termed stabilizing elements. The elongate, longitudinal or stabilizing elements may also perform a tie-back or anchor function.

Various embodiments of the Vidal development have been commercially available under various trademarks including the trademarks, REINFORCED EARTH embankments and RETAINED EARTH embankments. Moreover, other constructional works of this general nature have been developed. By way of example and not by way of limitation, Hilfiker in U.S. Patent No. 4,324,508 discloses a retaining wall comprised of elongated panel members with wire grid mats attached to the backside of the panel members projecting into an earthen mass. Vidal, Hilfiker and others generally disclose large precast, reinforced concrete wall panel members cooperative with strips, mats, etc. to provide a mechanically stabilized earth construction. Vidal, Hilfiker and others also disclose or use various shapes of precast concrete wall panel members. It is also noted that in constructions disclosed by Vidal and Hilfiker, the elements interactive with the compacted earth or particulate behind the wall panels or blocks, are typically rigid steel strips or mats which rely upon friction and/or anchoring interaction with the particulate, although ultimately, all interaction between such elements and the earth or particulate is dependent upon friction. Wire mats or mesh are also disclosed as vertical facing elements in place of the concrete panel members.

In such circumstances, smaller precast blocks rather than large precast panels may be used to define the wall. Forsberg in U.S. Patent No. 4,914,876 discloses the use of smaller retaining wall blocks in combination with flexible plastic netting as a mechanically stabilizing earth element to thereby provide a mechanically stabilized earth retaining wall construction. Using flexible plastic netting and smaller, specially constructed blocks arranged in rows superimposed one upon the other, reduces the necessity for large or heavy mechanical lifting equipment during the construction phase of such a wall. Others have also suggested the utilization of facing blocks of various configurations with concrete anchoring and/or frictional netting material to build an embankment and wall. Among the various products of this type commercially available is a product offered by Rockwood Retaining Walls, Inc. of Rochester, Minnesota and a product offered by Westblock Products, Inc. and sold under the trade name, Gravity Stone. Common features of these systems appear to be the utilization of various facing elements in combination with backfill, wherein the backfill is interactive with plastic or fabric reinforcing and/or anchoring means which are attached to the facing elements. Thus, there is a great diversity of such combinations available in the marketplace or disclosed in various patents and other references.

Nonetheless, there has remained the need to provide an improved system utilizing anchoring and/or frictional interaction of backfill and elements positioned in the backfill wherein the elements are cooperative with and attachable to facing elements, including blocks which are smaller and lighter than large facing panels such as utilized in many installations or with wire mesh facing elements. The present invention comprises an improved combination of elements of this general nature and provides enhanced versatility in the erection of retaining walls and embankments, as well as in the maintenance and cost of such structures. The present invention further comprises various stabilizing elements useful in the construction of such civil engineering structures. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Briefly, the present invention comprises a combination of components to provide an improved civil engineering structure including a retaining wall system or construction. The invention also comprises the components or elements from which the civil engineering structure is fabricated. A feature of the invention is a modular wall block which may be used as a facing component for a retaining wall construction. The modular wall block may be unreinforced and dry cast. The block includes a front face which is generally planar, but may be configured in almost any desired finish and shape. The wall block also includes generally converging side walls, generally parallel top and bottom surfaces, a back wall, vertical throughbores or passages through the block specially positioned to enhance the modular character of the block, and counterbores, associated with the throughbores, having a particular shape and configuration which permit the block to be integrated with and cooperative with various types of anchoring and/or earth stabilizing elements. Special corner block and cap block constructions are also disclosed. Various earth stabilizing and/or anchor elements are also disclosed for cooperation with the modular wall or face block and other blocks or facing elements. An embodiment of the earth stabilizing and/or anchoring elements includes first and second generally parallel tensile rods which are designed to extend longitudinally from the modular wall block into compacted soil or an earthen work. The ends of the tensile rods are configured to fit within the counterbores defined in the top or bottom surface of the modular wall or facing block. Angled or transverse cross members connect the parallel tensile rods and are arrayed not only to enhance the anchoring characteristics, but also the frictional characteristics of interaction of the tensile rods with earth or particulate material comprising the civil engineering structure. Numerous alternative stabilizing elements are disclosed as well as various systems and components for attachment of the stabilizing elements to facing elements such as wall blocks, panels, and the like.

An alternative stabilizing element cooperative with the modular blocks comprises a harness which includes generally parallel tension arms that fit into the counterbores in the blocks and which cooperate with the vertical anchoring rods so as to attach the tension arms to the blocks. The harness includes a cross member connecting the opposite tension arms adjacent the back face outside of the modular block. The cross member of the harness may be cooperative with a geotextile strip, for example, which extends into the earthen work behind the modular wall block. Again, the harness cooperates with vertical anchoring rods which extend into the passages or throughbores defined in the modular blocks.

The described wall construction further includes generally vertical anchoring rods that interact both with the stabilizing elements and also with the described modular blocks by extending vertically through the throughbores in those blocks while simultaneously engaging the stabilizing elements. Various other alternative permutations, combinations and constructions of the described components are set forth.

Thus it is an object of the invention to provide an improved retaining wall construction comprised of modular blocks and cooperative stabilizing elements that project into an earthen work or particulate material.

It is a further object of the invention to provide an improved and unique modular block construction for utilization in the construction of a improved retaining wall construction.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide a modular block construction which may be easily fabricated utilizing known casting or molding techniques. Yet a further object of the invention is to provide a substantially universal modular wall block which is useful in combination with earth retaining or stabilizing elements as well as anchoring elements.

Yet another object of the invention is to provide numerous unique earth anchoring and/or stabilizing elements that are cooperative with a modular wall or facing block or other facing elements.

Another object of the invention is to provide various stabilizing element designs and also various useful designs for components to attach stabilizing elements to facing elements.

Yet a further object of the invention is to provide a combination of components for manufacture of a retaining wall system or construction which is inexpensive, efficient, easy to use and which may be used in designs susceptible to conventional design or engineering techniques.

Another object of the invention is to provide a design for a modular block which may be used in a mechanically stabilized earth construction or an anchor wall construction wherein the block may be unreinforced and/or manufactured by dry cast or pre-cast methods, and/or interactive with rigid, metal stabilizing elements as well as flexible stabilizing elements such as geotextiles. These and other objects, advantages and features of the invention will be set forth in the detailed description which follows.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWING In the detailed description which follows, reference will be made to the drawing comprised of the following figures:

FIGURE 1 is an isometric, cut away view of an embodiment and example of the modular block retaining wall construction of the invention incorporating various alternative elements or components; FIGURE 2 is an isometric view of the improved standard modular wall block utilized in the retaining wall construction of the invention;

FIGURE 3 is an isometric view of an earthen stabilizing and/or anchor element which is used in combination with the modular block of Figure 2 and which cooperates with and interacts with earth or particulate by means of friction and/or anchoring means or both; FIGURE 4 is an isometric view of a typical anchoring rod which interacts with the wall block of Figure 2 and the earth stabilizing element of Figure 3 in the construction of the improved retaining wall of the invention;

FIGURE 4A is an alternate construction of the rod of Figure 4; FIGURE 5 is a bottom plan view of the block of Figure 2; FIGURE 6 is a rear elevation of the block of Figure 5;

FIGURE 7 is a side elevation of the block of Figure 5;

FIGURE 8 is a top plan view of a corner block as contrasted with the wall block of Figure 5;

FIGURE 9 is a rear elevation of the block of Figure 8; FIGURE 10 is a side elevation of the block of Figure 8;

FIGURE 11 is a top plan view of an alternative corner block construction; FIGURE 12 is a rear elevation of the block of Figure 11 ; FIGURE 13 is a side elevation of the block of Figure 11;

FIGURE 13A is a top plan view of an alternate throughbore pattern for a corner block; FIGURE 14 is a top plan view of a typical earth stabilizing element or component of the type depicted in Figure 3; FIGURE 15 is a top plan view of a component of an alternative earth stabilizing element; FIGURE 15A is an isometric view of an alternative component for the element of Figure

15;

FIGURE 16 is a bottom plan view of the element shown in Figure 14 in combination with a block of the type shown in Figure 2;

FIGURE 17 is a bottom plan view of the component or element depicted in Figure 16 in combination with a flexible geotextile material and a block of the type shown in Figure 2;

FIGURE 18 is a front elevation of a typical assembly of the modular wall blocks of Figure 2 and comer blocks such as shown in Figure 8 in combination with the other components and elements forming a retaining wall;

FIGURE 19 is a sectional view of the wall of Figure 18 taken substantially along the line 19-19;

FIGURE 20 is a sectional view of the wall of Figure 18 taken along line 20-20 in Figure

18; FIGURE 21 is a cross sectional view of the wall of Figure 18 taken substantially along the line 21-21;

FIGURE 22 is a side sectional view of a combination of the type depicted in Figure 17; FIGURE 23 is a side sectional view of a combination of elements of the type depicted in Figure 16; FIGURE 24 is a top plan view of a typical retaining wall construction depicting the arrangement of the modular block elements to form an outside curve;

FIGURE 25 is a top plan view of modular block elements arranged so as to form an inside curve;

FIGURE 26 is a front elevation depicting a typical retaining wall in accord with the invention;

FIGURE 27 is an enlarged front elevation of a retaining wall illustrating the manner in which a slip joint may be constructed utilizing the invention;

FIGURE 28 is a sectional view of the wall shown in Figure 27 taken substantially along the lines 28-28; FIGURE 29 is a sectional view of the wall of Figure 27 taken substantially along the line FIGURE 30 is a bottom plan view of the modular facing block of the invention as it is initially dry cast in a mold for a pair of facing blocks;

FIGURE 31 is a bottom plan view similar to Figure 30 depicting the manner in which the cast blocks of Figure 30 are separated to provide a pair of separate modular facing blocks; FIGURE 32 is a top plan view of the cast formation of the comer blocks;

FIGURE 33 is a top plan view of the comer blocks of Figure 32 after they have been split or separated;

FIGURE 34 is a plan view of an altemative casting array for comer blocks; FIGURE 35 is a plan view of comer blocks of Figure 24 separated; FIGURE 36 is a front elevation of a wall construction with a cap block;

FIGURE 36A is a top plan view of cap blocks forming a comer; FIGURE 37 is an isometric view of an altemative stabilizing element; FIGURE 38 is a bottom plan view of an altemative stabilizing element and wall block construction; FIGURE 39 is a plan view of another altemative stabilizing element and wall block construction;

FIGURE 40 is a side elevation of an altemative wall construction utilizing anchor type stabilizing elements;

FIGURE 41 is a bottom plan view of the wall construction of Figure 40 taken along the line 41-41;

FIGURE 42 is a top plan view of an altemative stabilizing element construction; FIGURE 43 is a top plan view of another altemative stabilizing element construction; FIGURE 44 is a top plan view of another stabilizing element construction; FIGURE 45 is a bottom plan view of an altemative cap block construction; FIGURE 46 is a cross-sectional view of the altemative cap block construction of Figure

45 taken along the line 46-46;

FIGURE 47 is a side elevation of an altemative construction depicting a stabilizing element in combination with a precast wall panel and further illustrating a fastening assembly for fastening the stabilizing element to the panel; FIGURE 48 is a top plan view of an assembly similar to that of Figure 47; FIGURE 49 is a side elevation of a further altemative assembly again similar to that of Figure 47;

FIGURE 50 is a side elevation of yet another assembly similar to that of Figure 47 incorporating a further mechanism for attaching a stabilizing element to a panel, block or wall member;

FIGURE 51 is a plan view of the fastener element utilized in combination with the assembly of Figure 50;

FIGURE 52 is a top plan view of certain component parts of Figure 50 prior to assembly;

FIGURE 53 is a side elevation of an assembly similar to that of Figure 50 utilizing the substantially the same components assembled in a different configuration;

FIGURE 54 is a side elevation of another stabilizing element construction in combination with a system for fastening the stabilizing element to a panel, a block or the like;

FIGURE 55 is a top plan view of the assembly Figure 54;

FIGURE 56 is a top plan view of an altemative stabilizing element of the type that can be utilized in combination with the assembly of Figure 54 and various other types of assemblies utilizing wall blocks, precast facing elements and other types of facing elements;

FIGURE 57 is a side elevation of the stabilizing element of Figure 56;

FIGURE 58 is a perspective of a stabilizing element of the type depicted in Figure 47, for example, in combination with a wall panel and an altemative connector or tab constmction cast in place (or precast) in the wall panel;

FIGURE 59 is an isometric view of the tab constmction cast in place (or precast) in the wall panel depicted in Figure 58;

FIGURE 60 is a side elevation of an altemative cast in place or precast wall panel and tab construction; FIGURE 61 is a perspective view of an altemative stabilizing element configuration in combination with a cast in place fastening construction for attaching the stabilizing element to a wall panel and further for attaching segments or sections of stabilizing elements;

FIGURE 62 is a top plan view of the construction of Figure 61;

FIGURE 63 is a top plan sectional view of another altemative constmction utilizing modular facing blocks in combination with a wire grid;

FIGURE 64 is a side section view of the constmction of Figure 63; FIGURE 65 is a top plan sectional view of another altemative constmction utilizing modular facing blocks in combination with a wire grid;

FIGURE 66 is a side section view of the constmction of Figure 65;

FIGURE 67 is a side sectional view of an altemative to the constmction of Figure 66; FIGURE 68 is a side sectional view of a further altemative to the constmction of Figure

66 depicting an altemative facing block constmction;

FIGURE 69 is a top sectional view of the constmction of Figure 68;

FIGURE 70 is a side sectional view of an altemative to the constmction depicted in Figure 68; FIGURE 71 is a top plan sectional view of an altemative constmction depicting an altemative facing block constmction which is similar to the constmction of Figure 65;

FIGURE 72 is a side sectional view of another altemative constmction utilizing a modified facing block configuration;

FIGURE 73 is a top plan view of the facing block used in the constmction of Figure 56; FIGURE 74 is a top plan sectional view of yet another altemative constmction utilizing a modular facing block in combination with a wire mesh;

FIGURE 75 is a side sectional view depicting various altemative combinations of a wire mesh and block as depicted in Figure 74;

FIGURE 76 is a top plan view of another modification of the construction depicted in Figure 74;

FIGURE 77 is a top plan sectional view of another altemative embodiment of the invention utilizing tension arms and tension members in combination with facing blocks and various connector pins and a cast in place counterfort;

FIGURE 78 is an isometric view of an altemative embodiment of an earthen work stmcture which includes precast or dry cast concrete facing blocks or facing units in combination with a tensile reinforcing member;

FIGURE 79 is a top plan view of a series of altemative embodiments of reinforcing members and associated block elements which are cooperative in various ways to be useful for the formation of an earthen work stmcture; and FIGURE 80 is a top plan view of additional altemative embodiments of tensile reinforcing members in combination with blocks of various design in the constmction of an earthen work stmcture.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

General Description

Figure 1 generally depicts the combination of components or elements which define the modular block retaining wall constmction of the invention. Modular blocks 40 are arranged in courses one upon the other in an overlapping array. Generally rigid earth retaining or stabilizing elements 42 and/or flexible stabilizing elements 44 are cooperative with or interact with the blocks 40. Also, anchoring elements such as tie back elements may be utilized in cooperation with blocks 40. The stabilizing or anchoring elements 42, 44 are attached to blocks 40 by means of vertical anchoring rods 46. The elements 42 and/or 44 project from the back face of blocks 40 into compacted soil 48 and interact with the soil 48 as anchors and/or frictionally. It is noted that interaction between the elements 42 and 44 and soil or particulate 48 depends ultimately upon frictional interaction of particulate material comprising the soil 48 with itself and with elements, such as elements 42 and 44. Conventionally, that interaction may be viewed as an anchoring interaction in many instances rather than a frictional interaction. Thus, for purposes of the disclosure of the present invention, both frictional and anchoring types of interaction of compacted soil 48 with stabilizing and/or anchor elements are considered to be generally within the scope of the invention.

The invention comprises a combination of the described components including the blocks 40, stabilizing elements 42 and/or 44, anchoring rods 46 and soil 48 as well as the separate described components themselves, the method of assembly thereof, the method of manufacture of the separate components and various ancillary or altemative elements and their combination. Following is a description of these various components, combinations and methods. Facing Block Construction

Figure 2, as well as Figures 5 through 13, 13 A, 30 through 36A, 44 and 45 illustrate in greater detail the constmction of standard modular or facing blocks 40 and various other blocks. Figure 2, as well as Figures 5 through 7, depict the basic modular block 40 which is associated with the invention. Figures 30 and 31 are also associated with the basic or standard modular block 40 in Figure 2. The remaining figures relate to other block constructions. Standard Modular Block

As depicted in Figures 2 and 5 through 7, the standard modular block 40 includes a generally planar front face 50. The front face 50, in its preferred embodiment, is typically aesthetically textured as a result of the manufacturing process. Texturing is, however, not a limiting characteristic of the front face 50. The front face 50 may include a precast pattern. It may be convex or concave or some other desired cast or molded shape. Because the block 40 is manufactured principally by casting techniques, the variety of shapes and configurations, surface textures and the like for the front face 50 is not generally a limiting feature of the invention.

The front face 50, however, does define the outline of the modular blocks comprising the wall as shown in Figure 1. Thus, the front face 50 defines a generally rectangular front elevation configuration, and because the blocks 40 are typically manufactured by means of casting techniques, the dimensions of the perimeter of front face 50 are typically those associated with a standard concrete block constmction. The size or dimension, however, is not a limiting feature of the invention.

Spaced from and generally parallel to the front face 50 is a back face 52. The back face 52 is connected to the front face 50 by means of side walls 54 and 56 which generally converge towards one another from the front face 50. The convergence is generally uniform and equal on both sides of the block 40. Convergence may commence from front edges 51, 53, or may commence a distance from front face 50 toward back face 52. Convergence may be defined by a single flat side surface or multiple flat or curved side surfaces. The convergence angle is generally in the range of 7° to 15°, in the preferred embodiment of the invention, though, a range of convergence of 0° to about 30° is useful.

The thickness of the block 40, or in other words the distance between the front face 50 and back face 52, may be varied in accord with engineering and structural considerations. Again, typical dimensions associated with concrete block constructions are often relied upon by casters and those involved in precast or dry cast operations of block 40. Thus, for example, if the dimensions of the front face 50 are 16 inches wide by 8 inches high, the width of the back face would be approximately 12 inches and the depth or distance between the faces 50, 52 would be approximately 8, 10 or 12 inches.

In the embodiment shown, the side walls 54 and 56 are also rectangular as is the back face 52. Parallel top and bottom surfaces 58 and 60 each have a trapezoidal configuration and intersect the faces 50, 52 and walls 54, 56. In the preferred embodiment, the surfaces 58, 60 are congruent and parallel to each other and are also at generally right angles with respect to the front face 50 and back face 52.

The block 40 includes a first vertical passage or throughbore 62 and a second vertical passage or throughbore 64. Throughbores 62, 64 are generally parallel to one another and extend between surfaces 58, 60. As depicted in Figure 5 the cross-sectional configurations of the throughbores 62 and 64 are preferably uniform along their length. The throughbores 62, 64 each include a centerline axis 66 and 68, respectively. The cross-sectional shape of each of the throughbores 62 and 64 is substantially identical and comprises an elongated or elliptical configuration or shape. Each of the throughbores 62 and 64 and, more particularly, the axis 66 and 68 thereof, is precisely positioned relative to the side edges 51 and 53 of the front face 50. The side edges

51 and 53 are defined by the intersection respectively of the side wall 54 and front face 50 and side wall 56 and front face 50. The axis 66 is one-quarter of the distance between the side edge 53 and the side edge 51. The axis 68 is one-quarter of the distance between the side edge 51 and the side edge 53. Thus the axes 66 and 68 are arrayed or spaced one from the other by a distance equal to the sum of the distances that the axes 66, 68 are spaced from the side edges 51 and 53.

The throughbores 62 and 64 are positioned intermediate the front face 50 and back face

52 approximately one-quarter of the distance from the front face 50 toward the back face 52, although this distance may be varied depending upon engineering and other stmctural considerations associated with the block 40. As explained below, compressive forces on the block 40 result when an anchoring rod 46, which fits within each one of the throughbores 62 and 64, engages against a surface of each throughbore 62 or 64 most nearly adjacent the back face 52. The force is generally a compressive force on the material comprising the block 40. Thus, it is necessary, from a stmctural analysis viewpoint, to ensure that the throughbores 62 and 64 are appropriately positioned to accommodate the compressive forces on block 40 in a manner which will maintain the integrity of the block 40. A counterbore 70 is provided with the throughbore 62. Similarly, a counterbore 72 is provided with the throughbore 64. Referring first to the counterbore 70, the counterbore 70 is defined in the surface 58 and extends from back face 52 over and around the throughbore 62. Importantly, the counterbore 70 defines a pathway between the throughbore 62 and the back face 52 wherein a tensile member (described below) may be placed in a manner such that the tensile member may remain generally perpendicular to an element, such as rod 46, positioned in the throughbore 62.

In a similar fashion, the counterbore 72 extends from the back face 52 in the surface 58 and around the throughbore 64. In the preferred embodiment, the counterbores 70 and 72 are provided in the top face 58 uniformly for all of the blocks 40. However, it is possible to provide the counterbores in the bottom face 60 or in both faces 58 and 60. Note that since the blocks 40 may be inverted, the faces 58 and 60 may be inverted between a top and bottom position. In sum, the counterbores 70 and 72 are aligned with and constitute counterbores for the throughbores 62 and 64, respectively. In the preferred embodiment, a rectangular cross-section passage 74 extends parallel to the throughbores 62 and 64 through the block 40 from the top surface 58 to the bottom surface 60. The passage 74 is provided to eliminate weight and bulk of the block 40 without reducing the stmctural integrity of the block. It also provides a transverse counterbore connecting counterbores 70 and 72. The passage 74 is not necessarily required in the block 40. The particular configuration and orientation, shape and extent of the passage 74 may be varied considerably in order to eliminate bulk and material from the block 40.

The general cross-section of the throughbores 62 and 64 may be varied. Importantly, it is appropriate and preferred that the cross-sectional shape of the throughbores 62 and 64 permits lateral movement of the block 40 relative to anchoring rods 46, for example, which are inserted in the throughbores 62 and 64. Thus, the dimension of the throughbores 62 and 64 in the direction parallel to the back face 52 in the embodiment shown is chosen so as to be greater than the diameter of a rod 46. The transverse (or front to back) dimension of the throughbores 62 and 64 more closely approximates the diameter of the rod 46 so that the blocks 40 will not be movable from front to back into and out of a position. That is, the front face 50 of each of the blocks 40 in separate courses and on top of each other can be maintained in alignment because of the size and configuration of throughbores 62, 64. Consequently, the blocks 40 can be preferably adjusted from side to side as one builds a wall of the type depicted in Figure 1 , though the blocks 40 are not adjustable inwardly or outwardly to any great extent. This maintains the planar integrity of the assembly comprising the retaining wall so that the blocks 40 will be maintained in a desired and generally planar array. Side to side adjustment insures that any gap between the blocks 40 is maintained at a minimum and also permits, as will be explained below, various adjustments such as required for formation of inside and outside curvature of the wall construction.

The depth of the counterbores 70 and 72 is variable. It is preferred that the depth be at least adequate to permit the elements 42 and/or 44 to be maintained below or no higher than the level of surface 58, so that when an additional course of blocks 40 is laid upon a lower course of blocks 40, the elements 42 and/or 44 are appropriately and properly recessed so as not to interfere with an upper course of blocks 40.

Referring briefly to Figures 30 and 31, there is illustrated a manner in which the standard modular blocks of Figures 2 and 5 can be manufactured. Typically, such blocks may be cast in pairs using dry casting techniques with the front face of the blocks 40 cast in opposition to each other with a split line such as split line 75 as depicted in Figure 30. Then after the blocks 40 are cast, a wedge or shear may be utilized to split or separate blocks 40 one from the other revealing a textured face such as illustrated in Figure 31. Appropriate drag and draft angles are incorporated in the molds with respect to such a casting operation as will be understood by those of ordinary skill in the art. Also note, the dry cast blocks 40 are not typically reinforced. However, the dry cast blocks may include reinforcing fibers. Lack of reinforcement and manufacture by dry casting techniques of a block 40 for use with metallic and/or generally rigid stabilizing elements is not known to be depicted or used in the prior art. Corner and/or Split Face Blocks Figures 8 through 13 A, and 32 through 36A depict blocks that are used to form comers and/or caps of the improved retaining wall constmction of the invention or to define a boundary or split face in such a retaining wall. Figures 8, 9 and 10 disclose a first comer block 80 which is similar to, but dimensionally different from the comer blocks of Figures 11, 12 and 13 and the comer block 110 of Figure 13 A. Referring, therefore, to Figures 8, 9 and 10, comer block 80 comprises a front face 82, a back face 84, a finished side surface 86 and a unfinished side surface 88. A top surface 90 is parallel to a bottom surface 92. The surfaces and faces generally define a rectangular parallelpiped. The front face 82 and the finished side surface 86 are generally planar and may be finished with a texture, color, composition and configuration which is compatible with or identical to the surface treatment of blocks 40. The comer block 80 includes a first throughbore 94 which extends from the top surface 90 through the bottom surface 92. The throughbore 94 is generally cylindrical in shape; however, the throughbore 94 may include a funnel shaped or frusto-conical section 96 which facilitates cooperation with a rod, such as rod 46, as will be explained below.

The cross-sectional area of the throughbore 94 is slightly larger than the cross-sectional area and configuration of a compatible rod, such as rod 46, which is designed to fit through the throughbore 94. Importantly, the cross-sectional shape of the throughbore 94 and the associated rod, such as rod 46, are generally congruent to preclude any significant alteration and orientation of a positioned comer block 80 once a rod 46 is inserted through a throughbore 94.

The position of the first throughbore 94 relative to the surfaces 82, 84 and 86 is an important factor in the design of the comer block 80. That is, the throughbore 94 includes a centerline axis 98. The axis 98 is substantially an equal distance from each of the surfaces 82, 84 and 86, thus rendering the distances x, y and z in Figure 8 substantially equal, where x is the distance between the axis 98 and the surface 82, y is the distance between the axis 98 and the surface 84, and z is the distance between the axis 98 and the surface 86. The comer block 80 further includes a second throughbore 100 which extends from the top surface 90 through the bottom surface 92. The second throughbore 100 may also include a funnel shaped or frusto-conical section 104. The cross-sectional shape of the throughbore 100 generally has an elongated or elliptical form and has a generally central axis 102 which is parallel to the surfaces 82, 84, 86 and 88. The longitudinal dimension of the cross-sectional configuration of the second throughbore 100 is generally parallel to the front face 82. The axis 102 is specially positioned relative to the side surface 88 and the front face 82. Thus the axis 102 is positioned a distance w from the front face 82 which is substantially equal to the distance w which axis 66 is positioned from front face 50 of the block 40 as depicted in Figure 5. The axis 102 is also positioned a distance v from the unfinished side surface 88 which is substantially equal to the distance c which the axis 62 is positioned from the edge 53 of the front face 50 of the block 40 as depicted again in Figure 5. A counterbore 103 may be provided for throughbore 100. Counterbore 103 extends from back surface 84 and around bore 100. The counterbore 103 may be provided in both top and bottom surfaces 90 and 92.

The distance u between the axis 102 and the axis 98 for the comer block 80 is depicted in Figure 8 and is equal to the distance u between the axis 66 and the axis 68 for the block 40 in Figure 5. The distance u is substantially two times the distance v. The distance v between the axis 102 and the side surface 88 is substantially equal to the distance z between the axis 98 and the side surface 86. The correlation of the various ratios of the distances for the various blocks 40, 80 and 110 set forth above is summarized in the following Table No. 1 :

TABLE 1

For Block 40 - 2v = u

For Comer Block 80 - x = y = z x + y = u v + z = u For Comer Block 110 - a = b = c d = v + c

It is to be noted that the comer block 80 of Figures 8, 9 and 10 is a comer block 80 wherein the perimeter of the front face 82 is dimensionally substantially equal to the front face

50 of the block 40. Figures 11, 12 and 13 illustrate an altemative comer block constmction wherein the front face and finished side face or surface are different dimensionally from that of the comer block 80 in Figures 8, 9 and 10.

Referring therefore to Figures 11, 12 and 13, a comer block 110 includes a front face 112, a back face 114, a finished side surface 116, an unfinished side surface 118, top and bottom parallel surfaces 120 and 122. The block 110 has a rectangular, parallelpiped configuration like the block 80. The block 110 includes a first throughbore 124, having a shape and configuration substantially identical to that of the first throughbore 94 previously described including the frusto-conical section 126, and an axis 128. Similarly, the block 110 includes a second throughbore 130 having an axis 132 with a cross-sectional configuration substantially identical to that of the second throughbore 100 and also including a frusto-conical or funnel shaped section 134. Also, counterbores 131 may be provided in the top and bottom surfaces 120, 122. The front face 112 and finished side surface 116 are finished, as previously described with respect to front face 50, in any desired fashion. The front face 112 has a height dimension as illustrated in Figure 13 as height h which is substantially equal to the height h of the block 40 in Figure 7, as well as the height h of the block 80 as illustrated in Figure 10.

The axis 128 is again equally spaced from the face 112, surface 116 and surface 114 as illustrated in Figure 11. Thus, the distance a from the surface 112 to axis 128 equals the distance b from the face 114 to the axis 128 which also equals the distance c from the surface 116 to the axis 128. The axis 132 is spaced from the front face 112 by the distance w which again is equal to the distance w of spacing of axis 66 from face 50 of block 40 as shown in Figure 5. Similarly, the axis 132 is spaced a distance v from the unfinished side surface 118 which is equal to the distance c associated with the block 40 as depicted in Figure 5. The distance between the axis 132 and the axis 128 represented by d in Figure 11 equals the distance v between axis 132 and surface 118 plus distance c, the distance between axis 128 and finished side surface 116. Again, these dimensional relationships are set forth in Table 1.

Figure 13 A illustrates the configuration of a comer block which is reversible and includes throughbores 99, 101 which are shaped with an L shaped cross section so as to function as though they are a combination of throughbores 124, 130 of the embodiment of Figure 11. Thus, bores 99 and 101 each include an axis 128a which is equivalent to axis 128 of the comer block of Figure 11 and a second axis 132a which is equivalent to the axis 132 of the block of Figure 11. Other altemative block constructions are possible within the scope of the invention and some modifications and alternatives are discussed below. However, the aforedescribed block 40 as well as the comer blocks 80 and 110 are principal modular blocks to practice the preferred embodiment of the invention. Stabilizing Elements The second major component of the retaining wall constmction comprises retaining elements which are interactive with and cooperate with the blocks 40, 80, and 110, particularly the basic block 40. Figures 14 through 17 illustrate various stabilizing elements. Referring first to Figure 14, there is illustrated a stabilizing element 42 which is comprised of a first parallel reinforcing bar 140 and a second parallel reinforcing bar 142. The bars 140 and 142 each have a loop 144 and 146 respectively formed at an inner end thereof. Typically, the bars 140 and 142 are deformed to form the loops 144, 146 and the ends of the loops 144, 146 are welded back onto the bar 140 and 142.

Importantly, each loop 144 and 146 is connected to a tension arm 148 and 150 defined by the bars 140 and 142. The tension arms 148 and 150 are parallel to one another and are of such a length so as to extend beyond the back face of any of the blocks previously described. A cross member 152, positioned beyond the back face of the block 40, connects the arms 148 and 150 to ensure their appropriate spacing and alignment. A second cross member 154 ensures that the arms 148 and 150, as well as the bars 140 and 142, remain generally parallel.

There are additional cross members 156 provided along the length of the bars 140 and 142. The spacing of the cross members 156 is preferably generally uniform along the outer ends of the bars 140 and 142. The uniformly spaced cross members 156 are associated with the passive or resistive zone of a mechanically stabilized earth stmcture as will be described in further detail below. The cross members 156 are thus preferably uniformly spaced one from the other at generally closer intervals in the so called passive or resistive zone. However, this is not a limiting feature and uniform spacing may be preferred by a wall engineer. The bars or cross members 154, as well as cross member 152, are not necessarily closely spaced or even required so long as the bars 140 and 142 are maintained in a substantially parallel array.

It is noted that in the preferred embodiment, that just two bars 140 and 142 are required or are provided. However, stabilizing elements having one or more longitudinal members (e.g. bars 140, 142) may be utilized. The stabilizing element depicted and described with respect to Figure 14 relies upon frictional interaction but could be configured to rely, as well, upon anchoring interaction with compacted soil. The cross members 156, thus, could be configured to act as a collection of anchors. The bars 140 and 142 and cross members 156 in the preferred embodiment provide frictional interaction with compacted soil. Figure 15 illustrates a component of a further altemative stabilizing element 44.

Specifically referring to Figure 15, the element depicted includes a harness or connector 160 which includes a first tension bar or arm 162 and a second bar or arm 164. Arms 162 and 164 are generally parallel to one another and are connected by a cross member 166, which in this case also includes a cylindrical, tubular member 168 retained thereon. Alternatively, as depicted in Figure 15 A, a C-shaped clamp member 167 may be fitted over the cross member 166. Each of the parallel tension arms 162 and 164 terminate with a loop 170 and 172. The loops 170 and 172 are arranged in opposed relationship and aligned with one another as depicted in Figure 15. The ends of the loops 170 and 172 are welded at welds 174 and 176, respectively to the arms 162 and 164, respectively. The harness or connector 160 is cooperative with the blocks, most particularly block 40, as will be described in further detail. That detail is illustrated, in part, in Figures 16 and 17. Referring first to Figure 16, there is depicted a stabilizing element 42. Figure 17 illustrates the stabilizing element 44. Referring to Figure 16 the element 42 and more particularly the tension arms 148 and 150 are positioned in the counterbores 70 and 72 of block 40 with the loops 144 and 146 positioned over the throughbores 64 and 62, respectively.

Referring to Figure 17, the connector 160, which comprises a portion of the stabilizing element 44, includes arms 162 and 164 which are fitted into the counterbores 70 and 72, respectively of block 40 with loops 170 and 172, respectively fitted over the throughbores 62 and 64. Note that connector 160 is sufficiently recessed within the block 40 so as to be below the plane of the top surface 58 thereof. Similarly, the tension arms 148 and 150 of the element 42 are sufficiently recessed within the counterbores 70 and 72 to be below the plane or no higher than the plane of the top surface 58 of the block 40.

Referring again to Figure 17, the element 44 further includes a geotextile material comprising a lattice of polymeric strips, such as strip 180, which is generally flexible and wherein an elongated length thereof is wrapped around or fitted over the tube or cylinder 168 or clamp 167 so that the opposite ends of the strips 180 extend outwardly and away from the block 40. Thus, Figure 16 illustrates a generally rigid element. Figure 17 illustrates a generally flexible element. In each event, the elements 42 and 44 are cooperative with a block 40 as described. Connectors

Depicted in Figure 4 is a typical connector which comprises a reinforcing rod or bar, normally a steel reinforcing bar 46, which is generally cylindrical in shape and which is fitted through loops, for example loops 170 and 172 in Figure 17 and associated throughbores 62 and 64 of block 40 to thereby serve to retain the element 44 and more particularly the connector 160 cooperatively engaged with block 40. The rod 46, which is depicted as the preferred embodiment, is cylindrical as previously mentioned. However, any desired size may be utilized. It is to be noted that the steel reinforcing bars, which are recommended in order to practice the invention, are also utilized in cooperation with the specially configured first throughbores 94, 124 of the comer blocks 80, 110. For example first throughbore 124 of the comer block 110 illustrated in Figure 12 cooperates with a rod such as rod 46 illustrated in Figure 4. The rods 46 are of a sufficient length so that they will project through at least two adjacent blocks 40 which are stacked one on top of the other thus distributing the compressive forces resulting from the elements 44 interacting with the blocks 40 to blocks of adjacent courses forming a wall.

As depicted in Figure 4A, the rod 46 may include a small stop or cross bar 47 welded or attached at its midpoint. Cross bar 47 insures that the rod 46 will be positioned properly and retained in position to engage blocks 40 above and below the block 40 in which rod 46 is positioned to cooperate with elements 42, 44. Thus, the rod 46 will not fall or slip downward into throughbores 62, 64. Retaining Wall System

Figures 18 through 29 illustrate the manner of assembly of the components heretofore described to provide a retaining wall. Referring first to Figure 18, there is depicted an array of three courses of modular blocks 40 and comer blocks 80 to define a section or portion of a wall using the components of the invention. Note that each of the courses provide that the blocks 40 are overlapping. Note further that the front face dimensions of the comer block 80 are equal to the front face dimensions of the modular blocks 40. The side face or surface dimensions of the corner blocks 80 are equal to one half of the dimensions of the basic blocks 40.

Figure 19, which is a sectional view of the wall of Figure 18, illustrates the manner of positioning the comer blocks 80 and modular basic building blocks 40 with respect to each other to define the first course of the wall depicted in Figure 18. Note that elements 42, which are the rigid stabilizing elements, are cooperatively positioned for interaction with the blocks 40. In the preferred embodiment, stabilizing elements 42 are provided for use in association with each and every one of the modular blocks 40 and the elements 42 include only two parallel reinforcing bars. It is possible to provide for constructions which would have a multiple number of reinforcing bars or special anchoring elements attached to the bars. The preferred embodiment is to use just two bars in order to conserve with respect to cost, and further, the two bar constmction provides for efficient distribution of tensile forces and anchoring forces on the element 42, and torsional forces are significantly reduced. Figure 20 illustrates the manner in which the comer block 80 may be positioned in order to define an edge or comer of the wall depicted in Figure 18. Thus, the block 80, which is a very symmetrical block as previously described, may be alternated between positions shown in Figures 19 and 20. Moreover, the comer blocks 80 may be further oriented as depicted and described with respect to Figures 27 through 29 below. The element 44, which is a stabilizing element utilizing a flexible polymeric or geotextile material, is depicted as being used with respect to the course or layer of blocks 40 defining or depicted in Figure 20.

Figure 21 is a side sectional view of the wall constmction of Figure 18. It is to be noted that the wall is designed so that the cross elements 156 are retained in the so-called resistive zone associated with such mechanically stabilized earth stmctures. As known to those of ordinary skill in the art, constmction of such walls and the analysis thereof calls for the defining of a resistive zone 190 and an active zone 192. The elements 42 are designed so that the cross members 156 are preferably more numerous in the resistive zone thus improving the efficiency of the anchoring features associated with the elements 42. However, this is not a limiting feature. Figure 21 illustrates also the use of the polymeric grid material 180. It is to be noted that all of the elements 42 and/or 44 are retained in a compacted soil or compacted earth in a manner described in the previously referenced prior art patents. Reference is made to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials "Standard Specification for Highway Bridges", Fourteenth Edition as amended (1990, 1991) and incoφorated herewith by reference, for an explanation of design calculation procedures applicable for such constructions.

In Figure 21, there is illustrated the placement of a stabilizing element, such as elements 42 or 44, in association with each and every course of blocks 40, 80. In actual practice, however, the stabilizing elements 42 and/or 44 may be utilized in association with separate layers or courses, e.g. every second, third or fourth course of blocks 40, 80 and/or at separate blocks, eg. every second or third block horizontally in accord with good design principles. This does not, however, preclude utilization of the stabilizing elements 42, 44 in association with each and every course and each and every block 40, 80. Thus, it has been found that the mechanically stabilized earth reinforcement does not necessarily require stabilizing elements at every possible block position. Again, calculations with respect to this can be provided using techniques known to those of ordinary skill in the art such as referenced herein. During constmction, a course of blocks 40 are initially positioned in a line on a desired footing 200, which may consist of granular fill, earthen fill, concrete or other leveling material. Earthen backfill material 202 is then placed behind the blocks 40. An element, such as stabilizing element 42, may then be positioned in the special counterbores 70, 72 in a manner previously described and defined in the blocks 40, 80. Rods 46 may then be inserted to maintain the elements 42 in position with respect to the blocks 40. The rods 46 should, as previously described, interact with at least two adjacent courses of blocks 40. A layer of sealant, fabric or other material (not shown) may be placed on the blocks. Subsequently, a further layer of blocks 40 is positioned onto the rods 46. Additional soil or backfill 202 is placed behind the blocks 40, and the process continues as the wall is erected.

In practice, it has been found preferable to orient the counterbores 70, 72 facing downward rather than upward during constmction. This orientation facilitates keeping the counterbores 70, 72 free of debris, etc. during constmction.

Figures 22 and 23 illustrate side elevations of the constmction utilizing a flexible stabilizing element 44 in Figure 22 and a rigid stabilizing element 42 in Figure 23. In each instance, the elements 42 and/or 44 are cooperative with blocks 40, rods 46 and compacted soil 202 as previously described.

Referring next to Figures 24 and 25, as previously noted, the throughbores 62, 64 in the blocks 40 have an elongated cross-sectional configuration. Such elongation permits a slight adjustable movement of the blocks 40 laterally with respect to each other to ensure that any tolerances associated with the manufacture of the blocks 40 are accommodated. It was further noted that the blocks 40 are defined to include converging side surfaces 54, 56. Because the side surfaces 54, 56 are converging, it is possible to form a wall having an outside curve as depicted in Figure 24 or an inside curve as depicted in Figure 25. In each instance, the mode of assembly and the cooperative interaction of the stabilizing elements 42, 44 and rods 46 as well as blocks 40 are substantially as previously described with respect to a wall having a flat front surface.

Figure 26 illustrates the versatility of the constmction of the present invention. Walls of various shapes, dimensions and heights may be constmcted. It is to be noted that with the combination of the present invention the front face of the wall may be substantially planar and may rise substantially vertically from a footing. Though it is possible to set back the wall or tilt the wall as it ascends, that requirement is not necessary with the retaining wall system of the present invention. Also, the footing may be tiered. Also, the block 40 may be dry cast and is useful in combination with a rigid stabilizing element, such as element 42, as contrasted with geotextile materials.

Figures 27, 28 and 29 illustrate the utilization of comer blocks to provide for a slip joint in a conventional wall of the type depicted in Figure 26. As shown in Figure 27, a slip joint or vertical slot 210 is defined between wall sections 212 and 214. Sectional views of the walls 212 and 214 are depicted in Figures 28 and 29. There it will be seen that the comer blocks 80, which may be turned in either a right handed or left handed direction, may be spaced from one another or positioned as closely adjacent as desired or required. A fabric or other flexible material 216 may be positioned along the back side of the blocks 80 and then backfill 202 positioned against the flexible material 216.

Figure 29 illustrates the arrangement of these elements including the flexible barrier 216 and the blocks 80 for the next course of materials. It is to be noted that the first throughbore 94 of the comer blocks 80 as well as for the comer block 110 always align vertically over one another as each of the courses are laid. Thus, a rod 46 may be passed directly through the first throughbores 94 to form a rigidly held comer which does not include the capacity for adjustment which is built into the throughbores 62, 64 associated with the blocks 40 or the second throughbore 100 associated with comer blocks 80. The positioning of the throughbores 94 facilitates the described assembly. The blocks 80 may include a molded split line 81 during manufacture. The line 81 facilitates fracture of the block 80 and removal of the inside half 83 as shown in Figure 28.

Figures 32, 33 and 34 illustrate a possible method for casting comer blocks 80. Comer blocks 80 may be cast in an assembly comprising four comer blocks wherein the mold provides that the faces 82, 85 of the comer blocks 80 will be in opposition along split lines 182, 185 so that, as depicted in Figure 32, four comer blocks 80 may be simultaneously cast, or as shown in Figure 34, two comer blocks 80 may be cast. Then as depicted in Figure 33, the comer blocks may be split from one another along the molded split lines to provide four (or two) comer blocks 80.

The stabilizing elements 42, 44, may also be cooperative with the counterbores 103, 131 of the comer blocks 80, 110. In practice, such constmction is suggested to stabilize comers of a wall. The elements 42, 44 would thus simultaneously cooperate with counterbores 103, 131 of a comer block 80, 110 and counterbores 70 or 72 of a modular block 40.

The described components and the mode of assembly of those components constitutes a prefeπed embodiment of the invention. It is to be noted that the comer blocks 80 as well as the standard modular blocks 40 may be combined in a retaining wall having various types of stabilizing elements and utilizing various types of analysis in calculating the bill of materials. That is, the stabilizing elements have both anchoring capabilities as well as frictional interactive capabilities with compacted soil or the like. Thus, there is a great variety of stabilizing elements beyond those specifically described which are useful in combination with the invention. For example, the stabilizing elements may comprise a mat of reinforcing bars comprised of two or more parallel bars which are designed to extend into compacted soil. Rather than forming the loops on the ends of those bars to interact with vertical rods 46, it is possible to merely bend the ends of such rods at a right angle so that they will fit into the throughbores 62, 64 through the blocks 40 thereby holding mats or reinforcing bars in position. Additionally, the rods 46 may be directly welded to longitudinal tensile arms in the throughbores, thus, eliminating the necessity of forming a loop in the ends ofthe tension arms.

Though two tensions arms and thus two reinforcing bars are the preferred embodiment, a multiplicity of tension arms may be utilized. Additionally, as pointed out in the description above, the relative size ofthe comer blocks may be varied and the dimensional alternatives in that regard were described. The shapes ofthe rods 46 may be varied. The attachment to the rods 46 may be varied.

Also, cap blocks 250 may be provided as illustrated in Figure 35 and 36. Such blocks 250 could have a plan profile like that of modular blocks 40 but with a longer lateral dimension and four throughbores 252, which could be aligned in pairs with throughbores 62, 64. The cap blocks 250 may then be alternated in orientation, as depicted in Figure 35, with rods 46 fitting in proper pairs of openings 252. Mortar in openings 252 would lock the cap blocks 250 in place. Cap blocks 250 could also be split into halves 254, 256, as shown in Figure 35, to form a comer. An altemative cap block constmction comprises a rectangular shaped cap with a longitudinal slot on the underside for receipt of the ends of rods 46 projecting from the top course of a row of blocks 40. Other constructions are also possible. Another altemative constmction for a stabilizing element is illustrated in Figure 37. There, tension arms 260, 262 and cross members 264 cooperate with a clamp 266 which receives a bolt 268 to retain a metal strip 270. Strip 270 is designed to act as a friction strip or connect to an anchor (not shown). Figure 38 depicts another altemative constmction for a stabilizing element 280 and the connection thereof to block 40. Element 280 includes parallel tension arms 281, 283 with a cross member 282 which fits in the space between counterbores 70, 72 defined by passage 74. The shape of the walls defining the passage 74 may thus be molded to maximize the efficient interaction ofthe stabilizing element 280 and block 40. Figure 39 depicts yet another altemative constmction wherein block 40 includes a passage 290 from internal passage 74 through the back face 52 of block 40. A stabilizing element such as a strip 292 fits through passage 290 and is retained by a pin 294 through an opening in strip 292. Strip 292 may be tied to an anchor (not shown) or may be a friction strip. Rods 46 still are utilized to join blocks 40. Figures 40 and 41 depict a wall construction comprised of blocks 40 in combination with anchor type stabilizing elements. The anchor type stabilizing elements are, in turn, comprised of double ended tensile elements 300 analogous to elements 42 previously described. The elements 300 are fastened to blocks 40 at each end by means of vertical rods 46. The blocks 40 form an outer wall 302 and an inner anchor 304 connected by elements 300. Anchors 304 are imbedded in compacted soil 305. The inside surface ofthe outer wall 302 may be lined with a fabric liner 306 to prevent soil erosion. This design for a wall constmction utilizes the basic components previously described and may have certain advantages especially for low wall constructions.

Figures 42, 43 and 44 illustrate further altemative constructions for a stabilizing element 302 and a connection thereof to block 40. Reference is also directed to Figure 38 which is related functionally to Figures 42, 43, and 44. Referring to Figure 42, there is depicted a block 40 with a stabilizing element 302 comprised of first and second parallel arms 304 and 305 which are formed from a continuous reinforcing bar to thereby define an end loop 306 which fits over a formed rib 308 defined between the connected counterbores 70 and 72. This is analogous to the constmction depicted in Figure 38. The parallel arms or bars 304 and 305 are connected one to the other by cross members 307 and 309 which are connected to the arms 304 and 305 at an angle to thereby define a truss type construction. The ends ofthe arms 304 and 305 may be connected by a transverse, perpendicular cross member or cross brace 310.

Referring to Figure 43, there is illustrated yet another altemative constmction wherein a stabilizing element 312 is again comprised of parallel arms 314 and 316 which form a symmetrical closed loop constmction including an end 318 having a generally V shape as depicted in Figure 43 cooperative with a rib 320 defined in the block 40. Note that the cross members 322 are at an angle to define a truss type configuration. Further note that the V-shaped end 318 includes an opposite end counterpart 328 so that the entire stabilizing element 312 is generally symmetrical. It may or may not be symmetrical, depending upon desires. Figure 44 illustrates a variation on the theme of Figure 43 wherein a stabilizing element

324 is comprised of arms 326 and 328 which cooperate with reinforcing bars 46 positioned in block 40 in the manner previously described. Crossing members 328 are again configured to define a generally truss shaped pattern analogous to the constmction shown in Figures 42 and 43. Thus it can be seen that the constmction of the stabilizing element may be varied significantly while still providing a rather rigid stabilizing element cooperative with blocks 40 and corner blocks as previously described.

Figures 45 and 46 illustrate an altemative to the cap block constmction previously described. In Figure 45, the bottom plan view of the cap block has substantially the same configuration as a face block 40. Thus cap block 340 includes counterbores 70 and 72 which are designed to be cooperative with stabilizing elements in the manner previously described. The passageways through the cap block 340, however, do not pass entirely through the block. Thus, as illustrated in Figure 46, the cap block 340 includes counterbores 72 and 70 as previously described. A passageway for the reinforcing bars 46; namely, passage 342 and 344 extends only partially through the block 340. Similarly, the passage 346 extends only partially through the cap block 340. In this manner, the cap block 340 will define a cap that does not have any openings at the top thereof. The cap block 340 as depicted in Figures 45 and 46 may, when in a position on the top of the wall, have gaps between the sides of the blocks because of their tapered shape. Thus it may be appropriate and desirable to mold or cast the cap blocks in a rectangular, parallelpiped configuration as illustrated in dotted lines in Figure 45. Alternatively, the space between the blocks 340 forming the cap may be filled with mortar or earthen fill or other fill. Alternative Stabilizing Elements and Combinations

Referring to Figure 47, an altemative stabilizing element is depicted in combination with a precast wall panel. Specifically a stabilizing element 400, which is similar to such elements previously disclosed, includes a first horizontal ran 402 and a second, coplanar, horizontal parallel run 404. Runs 402, 404 are spaced from one another by means of a crossbar 406 welded thereto. A series of cross bars 406 at spaced intervals are provided as with the constmction of stabilizing elements previously described. Inner ends 408 and 409 ofthe stabilizing element 400 are formed as closed loops 410 and 412, again, as previously disclosed. These loops 410, 412, however, are positioned one over the other so that they define a vertical passage or opening 414. Thus the ns 402, 404 are bent toward one another so that loops 410, 412 overlie one another to define the opening 414.

A precast panel or block member or the like such as panel 416, includes a cast-in-place connecting member 418 projecting from the backside thereof as projecting tabs 420 and 422 having aligned, vertical passageways 424 and 426 therethrough. The passage or opening 414 associated with the looped ends 410 and 412 is aligned with the passageways 424 and 426. A bolt 428 is then vertically inserted through the aligned passage 414 and passageways 424, 426, and a nut 430 is attached to the threaded end of bolt 428. Washers, such as washers 432, may be positioned on bolt 428, as depicted, in order to ensure that the bolt 428 and nut 430 will not accidentally fall through the passage 414 or passageways, 424, 426. Attachment of the stabilizing element 400 to the member 418 is thus effected.

This same stabilizing element 400 may be attached to a strip or element such as an element 266 in Figure 37 extending from a block 40 ofthe type previously described as in Figure 2. Thus stabilizing element may be utilized in combination with a myriad of facing elements, including but not limited to, precast panels, blocks, wire grids and other facing elements. Referring to Figure 48, another altemative configuration of a stabilizing element is depicted. In Figure 48, a stabilizing element 452 includes spaced generally parallel horizontal mns or rebars 454 and 456. The mns 454, 456 are spaced from one another and connected together by spaced generally parallel, horizontal cross members 458, 460 and 462. The cross members of 458, 460 and 462 are typically rods or reinforcing bars and are welded to the horizontal bars or longitudinal bars 454 and 456. The cross bars, such as cross bar 458, may extend laterally beyond the longitudinal bars 454 and 456, thereby defining projecting ends such as ends 464 and 466 in Figure 48. The runs 454 and 456 connect or otherwise constitute a single, connected, reinforcing bar which defines a loop 468. The loop 468 in Figure 48 is defined by the reinforcing bar which is bent and crosses over itself as depicted in Figure 48. It is possible, however, to have the loop 468 open-ended, i.e., parallel mns 454, 456 connected by a crown or cross member.

The stabilizing element 452 is attached to a panel 470 having a cast in place connecting element 472 and one or more projecting tabs 474 in a manner similar to the connection constmction in the embodiment depicted in Figure 47. Thus, a bolt 476 co-acts with one or more of the tabs or elements 474. Also, the stabilizing element 452 of Figure 48 may be utilized in combination with a strip or element such as element 266 in Figure 37 for cooperative engagement with a block 40 ofthe type described and depicted in Figure 2.

Figure 49 depicts another altemative or variant ofthe embodiment disclosed in Figure 47. Referring to Figure 49, the stabilizing element 400 is designed with the looped ends 410 and 412 abutting or adjacent to one another so that the bolt 428 and cooperative nut 430 may be fitted through the tabs 420 and 422 and ends 410, 412 retained between those tabs 420 and 422. Alignment ofthe looped ends 410 and 412 and co-action thereof with the bolt 428 and nut 430 is somewhat simplified by this arrangement relative to that of Figure 47 inasmuch as the tabs 420 and 422 assume the role ofthe washers such as the washers 432 in Figure 47. Fewer parts are required for the preferred embodiment of this assembly. Figures 50 through 52 illustrate an altemative variation or configuration ofthe means and assembly for connecting a stabilizing element, such as stabilizing element 400, to a connecting member such as connecting member 418 and, more particularly to the tabs 420 and 422. Thus, referring to Figure 50, the stabilizing element 400 is attached to or co-acts with the connecting element 418 and more particularly the tabs 420 and 422 by means of a U-shaped fastener or clip 480 which is also made of a metal material. For example, the clip 480 may be a steel, U-shaped or horseshoe-shaped member as depicted in Figure 51. The clip 480 thus includes generally parallel, spaced legs 482 and 484 connected by an arcuate or curved crown 486.

The clip or fastener or connector 480 fits through the openings or passageways 424 and 426 in the projecting tabs 420 and 422 as well as through the looped ends 410 and 412 as depicted in Figure 50. The preferred final orientation ofthe fastener 480 is depicted in Figure 50. Figure 52 is a top-plan view depicting the manner by which the stabilizing element 400 may be positioned in cooperation with the projecting tabs 420 and 422 so as to align passage 414 with passageways 424 and 426. Figure 53 depicts the first step when connecting the element 400 to the member 418 by means ofthe fastener or connector 480. Thus a leg 482 ofthe connector 480 may be initially inserted through the associated passage 414 and passageways 424, 426. The connector 480 may then be left in the position depicted in Figure 53 or altematively further manipulated so as to assume the configuration of Figure 50. The configuration ofthe connector 480 may also be altered to facilitate assembly. For example, it may be more U-shaped than depicted in the Figure 53. Also, the crown 486 may be flatter or more arcuate. Many variants ofthe shape ofthe clip 480 may be provided. Figure 54 discloses yet another variant of a stabilizing element. Stabilizing element 490 is comprised, as depicted in Figures 54 and 55, of generally parallel horizontal and longitudinally extending reinforcing members, bars or rods 492 and 494. The members or rods 492 and 494 are spaced from one another and connected by cross members or cross bars 496 in the manner previously described. The rods or longitudinal members 492 and 494 are spaced typically about two inches (2") apart.

In the embodiment shown, the rods 492 and 494 are welded to a planer plate 497. The planer plate 497 is generally rectangular in configuration and the rods 492 and 494 are welded to the lateral parallel spaced edges ofthe plate 497. The plate 497 includes a passage or opening 498 through one end. The plate 497 may thus be attached by means of a bolt 499 through parallel spaced projecting tabs 500 and 501 of a cast-in-place retaining element 502. The retaining element 502 is cast in place in a pre-existing pre-cast concrete facing panel 503. The bolt 499 is then retained in position by means of a nut 504.

Again, the configuration ofthe stabilizing element 490 depicted in Figures 54 and 55 may be utilized in combination with an attachment element such as the element 266 in Figure 37. The element 266 may co-act with a block 40 of the type previously described. The plate 497 may also be connected to a block 40 in the manner depicted in Figure 39 wherein plate 497 passes through a slot 290 and is held by a pin 294. The stabilizing element 490 may also be utilized in combination with numerous types of facing elements including panels such as panel 503, blocks such as blocks 40, and wire facing panels. Figures 56 and 57 illustrate an altemative constmction for a stabilizing element which is a variation of the type shown in Figures 54 and 55. The variation of Figures 56 and 57 includes parallel, horizontal bars or rods 510 and 512 which are spaced one from the other by means of cross bars such as cross bar 514. A plate 516 is a generally planer plate and includes upwardly projecting, spaced, parallel ribs 518 and 520. The ribs 518 and 520 typically are cross ribs which connect between the opposite sides 522 and 524 ofthe plate 516. In this manner, the parallel longitudinal rods 510 and 512 may be welded to the ribs 518 and 520 as depicted in Figure 57. The plate 516 also includes a through passage 526. The passage 526 enables the stabilizing element, depicted in Figures 56 and 57, to be attached to wall panels, blocks, wire facing elements and other elements in a manner such as depicted in Figures 54, 55, 37 or 39 for example. Figure 58 depicts a wall panel 530 which is a precast wall panel having a tab or attachment plate constmction 532 cast therein. As depicted in Figure 59, the plate 532 includes a flat tab section 534 and wing sections 536 and 538 which are cast in the panel 530. A through passage 540 in the plate 534 permits receipt of a fastener bolt 542 for attachment ofthe looped ends 410 and 412 of stabilizing element 400 previously described. A nut 544 is threaded on the bolt 542 and washers 546 and 548 assist in retention of the stabilizing element 400 on the connector 532.

Figure 60 illustrates an altemative constmction for a precast facing panel which is useful for connection to stabilizing elements 400. Thus, a cast in place or precast panel 550 includes a metal strip 552 having opposite ends 554 and 556 projecting from the cast in place or precast panel 550. The ends 554 and 556 each include a through passage adapted for receipt of a bolt 542 which retains the stabilizing elements 400 attached to the wall panel 550 in the same manner as described with respect to Figure 58.

Figure 61 and Figure 62 together illustrate another altemative constmction for a stabilizing element as well as a connection construction for attachment ofthe stabilizing element to a precast wall panel, for example. Referring to those figures, therefore, the stabilizing element includes first and second parallel spaced rods or reinforcing bars 560 and 562 which are designed to extend longitudinally and generally horizontally into an earthen work bulk form. The bars 560 and 562 are connected by cross members or cross bars or cross rods 564, for example. At each end of each ofthe separate horizontal bars 560 and 562, include a vertical loop. Thus, bar 562 includes a vertical loop 566. The vertical loop is thus formed by bending the ends ofthe rod 562 and forming a closed loop. The closed loop may be welded at the juncture crossover point 568 ofthe end ofthe rod 562.

Each end ofthe rod 562 and each end ofthe rod 564 is formed in the manner described. Further, the precast wall panel 570 includes rods 572 and 574 cast in place therein. The rods 572 and 574 also project from the panel 570 and are formed in a closed loop 576. Again where the closed loop folds over itself or has a crossover point 578, the rod may be welded to insure a good secure connection. The loops 566 and 576 may then be aligned with one another and a tie bar or cross member 580 is inserted through the aligned loops. The cross member 580 may thus connect the stabilizing element 560 to the connecting members 572 and 574. Additionally, the stabilizing elements 560 may be connected to one another in the same manner utilizing a cross bar 580. The cross bar 580 in the embodiment shown is a straight cross bar member. However, various combinations of such a connector may be utilized. For example, the cross bar 580 may constitute a bar having legs and a crown. The cross bar may have legs which are folded over on one another after being inserted through the loops 566 and/or 576. As depicted, a number of stabilizing elements 560 may be attached on to the other. The stabilizing elements 560 may also be connected to various other types of facing elements including blocks and wire facing elements.

Referring next to Figure 63, there is depicted a further altemative embodiment of the invention. In this embodiment, facing blocks 700 include a front face 702 converging side walls 704 and 706 and a back face 708. The front face 702 may be textured, etc. in the manner previously described. A series of grooves, slots or counterbores 710, 711 and 712 are arranged in parallel array and extend from adjacent the front face 702 and project through the back face 708. The counterbores 710, 711 and 712 are parallel and are defined in a bottom surface 714 in Figure 64 or a top surface 716 in Figure 64. The counterbores 710, 711 and 712 are interconnected by a groove, slot or cross counterbore 718 which is generally perpendicular to the counterbores 710, 711 and 712 and which is positioned adjacent to and parallel to the front face 702. Vertical throughbores 720 and 722 are defined through the block 700 and extend into the cross counterbore 718.

In a wall constmction, a series of the blocks 700 are arrayed in horizontal layers. The blocks 700, thus, define courses which are arranged in horizontal layers with one row upon the other. The blocks 700 preferably overlap one another. That is, vertically adjacent blocks 700 overlap one another. The throughbores 720 and 722 are preferably arranged in the modular array previously disclosed. That is, the spacing ofthe throughbores 720 and 722 is equal to one half the width dimension ofthe front face 702. The throughbores 720 and 722 are set inwardly from the vertical side edges ofthe front face 702 one quarter ofthe width dimension ofthe front face between the side edges. In this manner, the throughbores 720 and 722 can serve as passages for receipt of connector pins or rods 724 as shown in Figure 64 to connect the facing blocks 700 which are vertically adjacent and overlapping one another.

Coacting with the array of facing blocks 700 is a continuous wire mesh or wire sheath comprised of tension arms or tension members 728 which extend generally from adjacent the front face 702 into compacted soil 729 behind the back face 708. Cross members 730 interconnect the tension members 728. An outside cross member 732 connects the tension arms or tension members 728 and fits within the cross counterbore 718. Cross member 732 extends along the length of that counterbore of adjacent facing blocks 700. In this manner, the facing blocks 700 are generally interconnected by means of a rigid cross member 732. Typically, the cross member 732 will be welded to the tension members 728 as depicted in Figure 64.

Altematively, as depicted in Figure 64, the end 736 of the tension arms 728 may be formed as a loop which is retained in the cross counterbore 718. A cross bar 738 will then fit through the end loop 736 and serve to retain the tension rods 728 in the block 700. Note that in Figure 64 there is depicted the positioning ofthe counterbore 710 vertically upward as well as vertically downward. Either orientation may be utilized when building a wall utilizing the components ofthe present invention.

Figure 65 illustrates another variation ofthe invention. Referring to the top plan view in Figure 65, a facing block 750 includes a front face 752, a back face 754, side walls 756 and 758, and parallel counterbores 760, 762 and 764 extending from adjacent front face 752 through the back face 754. Cross counterbore 766 extends between the sidewalls 756 and 758. As a result of this configuration of counterbores 760, 762, 764 and 766, defined in either the top or bottom parallel face of block 750, there is provided a series of channels which are adapted to receive a grid wire comprised of grid tension members 768 and cross members 770. This particular constmction is useful for building lower gravity type walls inasmuch as there is no specific vertical interconnection ofthe facing blocks 750. Figure 66 illustrates, in cross sectional view, the position of the wire grid in the channels defined by the counterbores 760 and 766 of block 750. Figure 67 illustrates an altemative constmction for the wire grid. Tension members 772 are provided. A loop 774 is formed at the end ofthe tension members 772, and a cross bar 776 is fitted through that loop. The constmction fits into the counterbores 760 and 766 in a matter similar to that depicted in Figures 65 and 66. Figures 68, 69, 70 and 71 illustrate another variation of the wall constmction utilizing horizontal rows of facing blocks 850 which are offset inwardly one with respect to the other. As depicted in Figure 68, blocks 850 include a lower depending lip 852 adjacent to the back face or wall 853 ofthe block 850. The blocks 850 also include a first set of vertical throughbores 854 and a second set of vertical throughbores 855 behind the first set 854. As shown in Figure 69, the throughbores 854 and 855 are arranged in position within counterbores 856 and are arranged one behind the other between the front wall 851 and the back wall 853. As in any ofthe blocks which are described herein, a throughbore or core 858 may be provided to reduce the weight of the block.

In any event, the lip 852 associated with the blocks 850 necessitates offsetting the horizontal rows of blocks 850 as the horizontal courses are laid one upon the other. The offset associated with the lip 852 equals to the offset ofthe centers ofthe vertical throughbores 854 and 855. In this manner, vertical pins or rods 862 may be inserted through the first throughbore 854 of a block 850 and downwardly into the second throughbore 855 ofthe next lower block 850. This will lock the blocks 850 together and also hold a horizontal stabilizing element such as element 864, in position. The stabilizing element 864 is similar to that depicted heretofore, although numerous types of stabilizing elements as described herein may be utilized in combination with the block 850.

As illustrated in Figure 70, blocks 870 may be provided with counterbores 872 and cross counterbores 874 for cooperation with a wire mesh mat 876 in a fashion similar to that previously described with respect to Figure 65. Again note that the facing block 870 includes a depending lip or rib 877 for block offset and may also include a center throughbore opening 880 to reduce block weight. Also, note that the side walls 879, 881 ofthe block 870 are converging to permit formation of various kinds of curves, although such convergence is an optional feature ofthe block 870. Figures 72 and 73 depict a variation of a facing block constmction wherein facing blocks

890 are provided with lips 892 along the front edge thereof to effect horizontal offset. The blocks 890 are otherwise configured to include counterbores 894 and cross counterbores 896 for cooperation with grids or mats, such as mats 898 or 900, in the manner described herein.

Figures 74 and 75 illustrate yet another variation of a wall block and wall constmction. Here, standard dry cast concrete block 780 ofthe type having a generally flat front wall 782, a back wall 784, and side walls 786, 788 are cast in the form of rectangular parallel piped having a top surface 790 and throughbores 792 and 794. A wire mesh comprised of tension members 796 and cross members 798 is held in position on the face 790 of the block 780 by means of vertical reinforcing bars 801. The reinforcing bars 801 may be extended through vertically adjacent blocks 780 inasmuch as the throughbores 792, 794 of such blocks 780 will overlap one another. The reinforcing bars 801 may be typical steel reinforcing rods. Fill material may be used such as sand or gravel. Altematively, concrete or mortar may be inserted into the throughbores 792 and 794. The bars 801 capture or retain the cross bars 798. The adjacent horizontal rows of blocks 780 are typically separated by a mortar joint so as to provide spacing for receipt of members 796. Side elevation, Figure 75, illustrates various altemative constructions for connection of the wire grid to the blocks 780. The upper part of Figure 75 has the constmction described and depicted by Figure 74. Altematively, tension members 796 have loop ends 803. The loop ends 803 coact with cross bars 805. As another alternative, a stabilizing element 807 in Figure 75 is depicted in greater detail in Figure 76 and is actually the same as the stabilizing element depicted in Figure 14. In other words, numerous types of stabilizing elements may be used in combination with the block 780 arrangement depicted in Figures 74 and 75 including an arrangement as depicted in Figure 76 wherein the block 780 cooperates with the stabilizing element 807 and vertical reinforcing bars 801 which are imbedded preferably in concrete which fills the throughbores such as throughbore 792 in the block 780. Reference is next directed to Figure 77 wherein the concepts of the invention are incorporated with and combined with a cast in place counterfort and other constmctions. Thus, referring to Figure 77, there is depicted a wall having a series of facing blocks 621 which are arrayed in horizontal layers one over the other with the blocks being offset with respect to each other. The blocks 621 may be any one ofthe particular constmctions heretofore described. The block described and depicted in Figure 2, for example, may be used along with stabilizing members 623 ofthe type depicted in Figure 14. The stabilizing member 623 includes tension arms 625 and 627 which are positioned within counterbores in the manner previously described to cooperate with vertical pin members again in the manner previously described. As shown in Figure 77, the stabilizing members 623 may be used to connect the horizontally adjacent blocks 621 or may be connected to one of such blocks 621. The stabilizing members 623 include a connecting cross member 629 which is positioned some distance from the back ofthe blocks 621. To construct a counterfort, a series ofthe stabilizing elements 623 are arrayed vertically one over the other. The entire assembly is preferably positioned on a precast footing having reinforcing bars projecting from the footing 630 upwardly and retained between the loops or bars forming the stabilizing elements 622. It should be noted that, with respect to the counterfort construction of Figure 77, the vertical reinforcing members which extend upwardly into the cast in place counterfort member are preferably included and are preferably connected with the cast in place footing.

Additionally, it should be noted that the facing block 621 may interact with and be utilized with all ofthe various types of stabilizing and anchor elements heretofore described. For example, a ladder shaped reinforcing element 641 may include tension rods 643 and cross members 645 which extend laterally beyond the generally parallel tension rods 643. The stabilizing member may also be, as depicted in Figure 77, a member 651 which includes a single tension arm 653 having cross members 655 attached thereto.

Still another form of stabilizing element used in combination with blocks 621 is depicted in Figure 77. Specifically, one or more concrete blocks 659 are connected, end to end, to the back side of a facing block 635. Metal clips or other fasteners 661 connect the blocks 659 together as depicted.

A further altemative constmction is depicted in the isometric view of Figure 78. There a series of precast or dry cast concrete blocks 900 are arranged in horizontal courses, one upon the other. The horizontal courses of the blocks 900 are overlapping. That is, adjacent rows of the courses of blocks overlap one another. A unit or block 900 has a back wall 902 which is generally rectangular, a front wall 904 which is also rectangular, an upwardly projecting lip or rib 906 may be included. The rib or ridge 906 is optional and may or may not be included in the wall constmction. Use ofthe rib 906 in the wall constmction will result in a set back of each of the respective courses ofthe blocks which form a wall, for example, as depicted in Figure 70 or Figure 72. In any event, the front wall 904 is spaced from the back wall 902 and a throughbore 912 is defined by the walls 902, 904, 908 and 910. Note that the walls 908 and 910 which are the sidewalls are converging sidewalls. Thus, the ledges or edges ofthe back wall 902 and more particularly the ledge or edge section 914 defined by the back wall 902 may be angled so that the converging sidewalls may be utilized to facilitate formation of a curved wall.

The blocks 900 and more particularly the sidewalls 908 and 910 each include a through slot 916 and 918 in each of the sidewalls 908 and 910. The through slots 916 and 918 are generally parallel and are recessed in the top edge ofthe walls 908 and 910, although they may be defined in the bottom edge thereof. The back wall 902 includes a third slot or a longitudinal extending slot 920 adjacent each ofthe junctures ofthe sidewalls 908 and 910 with the back wall 902. Again the slots 920 may be in the top or bottom ofthe back wall 902.

A tensile reinforcing member or element 922 includes a first and a second longitudinal tensile member 924 and 926 connected by an external cross bar 928 and first and second internal cross bars 930 and 932. The cross bars 930, 932 as well as either of the longitudinal tensile elements 924 and 926 may terminate with a downwardly depending or transverse extension such as extensions 936 of crossbar 930. The crossbars connecting bars 930 and 932 fit respectively in the slots 918 and 916 of adjacent blocks 900 in a horizontal course. The longitudinal elements 924 and 926 fit into the slots 920 which project through or pass through the back wall 902. The element 922 thus serves a multiplicity of functions, i.e., maintaining adjacent blocks 900 joined together properly and anchoring the element 922 to the mosaic of blocks 900 which form the front face of a wall.

In the event the cross members 930 and 932 are eliminated or not included in the element 922, downtumed or transverse ends 936 ofthe longitudinal members 924 and 926 will fit within the hollow core 912 ofthe blocks 900. The hollow core 912 may then be filled with concrete or aggregate or other material to facilitate retention of the extensions 936 and elements 922. Additionally, the back wall 902 will serve to preclude withdrawal ofthe element extension 936 from engagement with the blocks 900. The elements 922 thus have a multiplicity of interactions with the blocks 900 depending upon their specific constmction.

The particular constmction utilizing first and second connecting cross members 930 and 932 is one preferred embodiment. However, as set forth previously, there are various other constmctions of the tensile elements 922 which may be incorporated with the specific constmction and design ofthe blocks 900. Again, it is noted that the cross members 930 and 932 are spaced for positioning in the slots 920 so that the constmction tends to maintain the integrity of the wall formed by the blocks 900 while also maintaining the elements 922 in combination therewith. Figures 79 and 80 illustrate a series of various types of stabilizing elements which include tensile members and/or anchoring members and connection mechanisms for attaching such stabilizing elements to blocks to form a bulk earthern work. Following, therefore, is the description of each of these various altemative constmctions.

Referring first to Figure 79, there is depicted an embodiment which includes a precast concrete or aggregate block 1002. The block 1002 includes a series of recessed slots or depressions 1004, 1006, 1008, and 1010. Cross bars 1012, 1014 and tensile members 1006 and 1008 fit into the various slots 1004, 1006, 1008 and 1010. The block 1002 may be a solid block or may have a hollow core or hollowed region beneath the slots 1004, 1006, 1008, 1010.

Next, there is depicted a pair of hollow core blocks 1020 which are arranged side by side. The hollow core blocks 1020 include adj acent side walls 1022 and 1024 which each include slots or recesses 1026 and 1028 therein. A metal cross bar 1030 in slots 1026, 1028 is fastened by a pin fastener 1032 to a metal strip 1034. Strip 1034 is attached to a tensile assembly 1036. The constmction ofthe tensile assembly 1036 may be similar to that shown in Figures 56 and 57.

Next, there is depicted a hollow core block 1040 which is substantially identical to the block 1020 except for the grooves or slots 1042 and 1044 which are defined therein. Tensile members 1016 and 1018 fit into the slots 1042 and 1044. Cross members 1004 and 1006 are retained within the hollow core ofthe block 1040 and the hollow core is filled with gravel or concrete fill or some other fill 1046. Cross bar 1006 fits against a back wall 1048 ofthe block 1040 to facilitate retention ofthe stabilizing element. The next embodiment depicted utilizes a hollow core block 1050 with a second, precast concrete hollow core block 1052 attached thereto by a clip 1054. The clip 1054 may fit into recesses defined in walls ofthe blocks 1050, 1052 if desired. The block 1052 may be a standard hollow core concrete block with slots such as slots 1056 which are adapted to receive a cross member 1004. Additional slots are provided for cross member 1006. Next there is illustrated a block 1060 which cooperates with a stabilizing member as previously depicted wherein the hollow core block 1060 includes a recess or groove 1062 which is connected with grooves 1064. The grooves 1064 are aligned with grooves 1066 in a back wall

1068. Again, tensile member 1018 as well as cross members or cross bars 1004 and 1006 fit within the various grooves so defined.

Referring next to Figure 80 there is illustrated another block 1070 which has a recessed pocket or section 1072. The recessed section diverges from the front of the block 1070 and includes a pin opening for receipt of a pin 1074 which fits through a plate 1076 of a stabilizing member 1078 ofthe type illustrated in Figures 56 and 57.

Next a hollow core block 1080, similar to the other hollow core blocks, includes a pair of slots 1082 and 1084 in the back wall 1086. Stabilizing tensile members 1087 and 1088 fit through the slots 1082, 1084 and cross members are retained within the hollow core ofthe block

1080. A pin 1089 may fit within granular or concrete fill or aggregate 1090 to further facilitate retention ofthe stabilizing element.

Block 1091 is very similar to block 1080 except that a pair of pins 1092 and 1094 cooperate with spaced tensile members 1018 and 1016. Again, grooves are defined in the back wall ofthe block 1091 for coaction with the tensile members 1016 and 1018.

The blocks 1080 and 1091 combine to illustrate a further embodiment wherein a high adherent strip such as shown in U.S. Patent No. 4,116,010 and/or U.S. Patent No. 4,710,062 is connected to adjacent blocks 1080 and 1091. Thus a strip 1096 is attached by a pin 1098 to a cross member 1099. The cross member 1099 fits in slots cut in the sides ofthe adjacent blocks 1080 and 1091 to connect the blocks 1080, 1091 together as well as to connect the strip 1096 thereto.

Block 1100 is a hollow core block with a pair of slots 1102 and 1104 cut in the back wall

1106. Multiple cross members 1004, 1005 and 1006 are retained in aggregate 1007 in block

1100. Block 1110 is also a hollow core block which cooperates with a concrete block 1112 similar to the block 1052 in Figure 79. Here, however, the concrete block 1112 is slotted or formed to cooperate with a stabilizing element 1114 which engages with slots such as slots 1115 and 1116. Cross members 1117 may be utilized and positioned inside the hollow core of the block 1112 to thereby help retain stabilizing element 1114. A clip 1118 connects block 1110 with block 1112. Finally, there is depicted a block 1120 very similar to the block depicted in Figure 1 wherein stabilizing element comprises first and second tensile members 1122 and 1124 which extend into the channels 1126 and 1128 define the top of block 1120. The tensile members 1122 and 1124 include L-shaped extensions which act as pins and fit into openings 1130 and 1132 defined in the block 1120. The openings 1130, 1132 may extend partially or totally through the block 1120. In this embodiment, adjacent blocks may be interconnected by the tensile members 1122 and 1124. That is, the tensile members 1122 and 1124 may extend into channels of adjacent blocks.

Other variants of the stabilizing element constmction, as well as variants of the connectors ofthe stabilizing elements to certain wall elements such as precast panels, blocks, wire mesh facing elements and the like are possible. Thus the invention is to be limited only by the following claims and their equivalents.

Claims

CLAIMSWhat is claimed is:
1. An earthen work structure comprising, in combination: a plurality of facing blocks arranged in courses, said blocks each including a front wall, a back wall and first and second side walls connecting the front wall to the back wall, the walls defining a bore extending at least partially through the block, the blocks arranged side by side in each course and defining a front face for the stmcture, the blocks including at least one side slot in the side walls and a back slot through the back wall, all of said slots connected to the bore; a tensile reinforcing member cooperative simultaneously with at least two adjacent blocks in a course, said tensile reinforcing member including at least two longitudinal tensile members, each one of said tensile members extending respectively through the back slot of adjacent blocks, said longitudinal tensile members being connected by at least one cross member connected thereto, said cross member extending through said side slots of said adjacent blocks, the reinforcing tensile member further including members extending from the back wall; and compacted soil, said tensile members extending into said soil.
2. The stmcture of claim 1 wherein the tensile members comprise longitudinal members engaged with the compacted soil at least partially by friction.
3. The stmcture of claim 1 wherein the blocks have a rectangular front face and parallelpiped configuration.
4. The stmcture of claim 1 wherein the blocks include parallel first and second side slots.
5. The stmcture of claim 1 wherein the blocks have a top surface and the slots are in the top surface.
6. The stmcture of claim 1 wherein the reinforcing tensile member includes first and second parallel tensile members and cross members connecting the tensile members within the compacted soil.
7. The structure of claim 1 wherein the back slots have a width greater than the width ofthe tensile member positioned therein.
8. The stmcture of claim 1 wherein the side walls, at least some blocks, converge and the side slots are parallel to each other and to the front wall.
9. The stmcture of claim 4 wherein the tensile member includes first and second cross members connecting the longitudinal cross members, said first and second cross members positioned respectively in the first and second slots of adjacent blocks.
10. The stmcture of claim 1 wherein the tensile members include a transverse extension into the bore ofthe block.
11. The stmcture of claim 10 wherein the bore is filled with material to retain the transverse extension.
12. The stmcture of claim 11 wherein the material is concrete.
13. The stmcture of claim 1 wherein the blocks of adjacent vertical courses are overlapped laterally.
14. An earthen work stmcture comprising, in combination: a plurality of rectangular shaped facing blocks aπanged in courses, said blocks each including a front wall, a back wall, and first and second side walls connecting the front wall to the back wall, the walls defining a bore therebetween at least partially through the block, at least selected horizontally adjacent blocks including first and second spaced slots through the adjacent side walls of each said adjacent blocks, and a third slot through the back walls of said adjacent blocks, at least one tensile reinforcing member cooperative simultaneously with the adjacent blocks having slots, said member including first and second spaced, parallel longitudinal tensile members positioned respectively in the third slots ofthe adjacent blocks, said member further including first and second spaced, connecting members connecting in the longitudinal tensile members, said first and second connecting members positioned respectively in the first and second slots ofthe adjacent blocks, and compacted soil against the back wall of the blocks, said longitudinal tensile members extending into the compacted soil.
15. The stmcture of claim 14 wherein the side wall slots are parallel and each equally spaced from the front wall whereby the slots define channels generally parallel and aligned.
16. The stmcture of claim 14 wherein the side walls are converging.
17. The stmcture of claim 14 wherein the bore is a throughbore.
18. The stmcture of claim 14 wherein the blocks include a frontal ledge whereby vertically adjacent courses are set back by the thickness ofthe edge.
19. The stmcture of claim 14 wherein the walls define a top surface of each block and the slots are in said top surface.
20. The stmcture of claim 14 wherein at least one of the tensile members or connecting members includes a transverse extension into a block bore.
21. An earthen work stmcture comprising, in combination: a plurality of facing blocks arranged in courses, said blocks each including a front wall, a back wall, first and second side walls connecting the front wall to the back wall, the blocks having a top and a bottom, the walls defining a bore between the top and bottom at least partially therethrough, the top or bottom including a pattem of aligned slots through adjacent side walls of adjacent blocks in the same course of blocks; at least one tensile reinforcing member cooperative with two adjacent blocks in a single course of blocks, said tensile reinforcing member including a cross member positioned in the aligned slots defined in the top or bottom of adjacent side walls of adjacent blocks, a longitudinal extending member extending from the back wall, and a connecting member attaching the cross member to the longitudinal member; and compacted soil, said longitudinal member extending into the compacted soil and engaged therewith at least partially by friction.
22. The stmcture of Claim 21 wherein the bore extends entirely through said adj acent blocks from top to bottom and the slots join to the bores.
23. An earthen work stmcture comprising, in combination: a plurality of facing blocks arranged in courses, said blocks each including a front wall, a back wall, first and second side walls connecting the front wall to the back wall, a top, a bottom, and a throughbore from the top to the bottom, at least one tensile reinforcing member cooperative with at least one block in the facing blocks, said one block including an array of spaced, parallel slots in the back wall for receipt of the tensile reinforcing member, said tensile reinforcing member including first and second generally parallel, spaced bars fitted in the slots, said bars extending into the bore and connected by a cross member in the bore; and compacted soil, said reinforcing member extending into the compacted soil and engaged therewith at least partially by friction.
24. The combination of Claim 23 further including an aggregate material in the bore with the reinforcing member therein.
25. The combination of Claim 24 further including a rod extending into the aggregate positioned intermediate a cross member and back wall.
26. The combination of Claim 23 further including a pattem of slots in the side walls, and said reinforcing member further including additional cross members attached to the bars and fitted into the pattem of slots.
27. An earthen work stmcture comprising in combination: a plurality of facing blocks arranged in courses, said blocks each including a front wall, a back wall, first and second side walls connecting the front wall to the back wall, the blocks having a top and a bottom, said top or bottom including an array of slots therein including spaced parallel slots extending through the back wall and cross slots connecting the parallel slots; at least one tensile reinforcing member engaged with the block having slots therein, said member including spaced parallel rods positioned in the spaced parallel slots and cross rods connected to the parallel rods positioned in the cross slots; and compacted soil, said reinforcing member extending into the compacted soil and engaged therewith at least partially by friction.
28. An earthen work stmcture comprising, in combination: a plurality of equally sized, facing blocks, each having a rectangular front wall, a back wall, opposite side walls, a top, a bottom and a bore at least partially through the block between the top and bottom; selected facing blocks having a planar back wall; a second block with a planar wall fitted against the back wall of a facing block, said second block including a top and bottom with a bore at least partially through the block between the top and bottom and also including a pattern of slots in the top or bottom; a connector for holding the facing block and second block together, said connector extending into the respective bores of said facing block and second block; a stabilizing tensile member including at least two spaced, longitudinal tensile rods and at least one cross rod connecting the tensile rods, at least a portion of said tensile rods positioned in the slots in the second block; and compacted soil, said tensile rods extending into the soil and engaged therewith at least partially by friction.
29. An earthen work stmcture, comprising, in combination: a plurality of facing blocks arrayed in courses, said blocks including a front wall, a back wall, opposite side walls, a top and a bottom, at least one recess in the top or bottom, said recess extending through the back wall, and a bore into the block located in the recess, and projecting into the block; a stabilizing element including a connection member positioned in the recess and extending outwardly from the back wall, a pin through the stabilizing connection member extending into the block bore to attach the connection member to the block; compacted soil, said stabilizing element further including a tensile member connected to the connection member, said tensile member extending into the compacted soil and engaged therewith at least partially by friction.
30. The stmcture of Claim 29 wherein the recess diverges from the front wall through the back wall.
31. The stmcture of Claim 29 wherein the pin comprises an extension of the connection member.
32. The stmcture of Claim 29 wherein the stabilizing element comprises two, spaced parallel tensile rods connected by a cross rod in the compacted soil, said tensile rods each positioned in the block recess.
33. The structure of Claim 29 wherein the stabilizing element comprises a plate within the recess and a pair of spaced tensile rods connected to the plate extending into the compacted soil.
34. The structure of Claim 29 wherein the stabilizing element comprises a plate within the recess extending into the compacted soil.
35. An earthen work stmcture comprising, in combination: a plurality of facing blocks arranged in courses, said blocks each including a front wall, a back wall and first and second side walls connecting the front wall to the back wall, a top surface and a bottom surface, the blocks arranged side by side in each course and defining a front face for the stmcture, the blocks including at least one side slot in a surface through the side walls and a back slot in said surface through the back wall; said slots being connected; a tensile reinforcing member cooperative simultaneously with at least two adjacent blocks in a course, said tensile reinforcing member including at least two longitudinal tensile members, each one of said tensile members extending respectively through the back slot of adjacent blocks, said longitudinal tensile members being connected by at least one cross member connected thereto, said cross member extending through said side slots of said adjacent blocks, the reinforcing tensile member further including members extending from the back wall; and compacted soil, said tensile members extending into said soil.
PCT/IB1999/000066 1993-03-31 1999-01-06 Stabilizing elements for mechanically stabilized earthen structure and mechanically stabilized earthen structure WO1999035343A1 (en)

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US09/003,251 1998-01-06
US09003251 US6079908A (en) 1993-03-31 1998-01-06 Stabilizing elements for mechanically stabilized earthen structure and mechanically stabilized earthen structure

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JP2000527715A JP4119946B2 (en) 1998-01-06 1999-01-06 Stabilizing elements and mechanically stabilized by the soil structure for mechanically stabilized by soil structure
AU1778899A AU754194B2 (en) 1998-01-06 1999-01-06 Stabilizing elements for mechanically stabilized earthen structure and mechanically stabilized earthen structure
CA 2317511 CA2317511A1 (en) 1998-01-06 1999-01-06 Stabilizing elements for mechanically stabilized earthen structure and mechanically stabilized earthen structure
EP19990900097 EP1045940A1 (en) 1998-01-06 1999-01-06 Stabilizing elements for mechanically stabilized earthen structure and mechanically stabilized earthen structure

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Also Published As

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CA2317511A1 (en) 1999-07-15 application
JP2002500300A (en) 2002-01-08 application
JP4119946B2 (en) 2008-07-16 grant
US6079908A (en) 2000-06-27 grant
EP1045940A1 (en) 2000-10-25 application

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